Thursday, October 27, 2011

Homeless in Holland - Part II

If you missed Part I, you can find it here.....

I stepped off the train and thought to myself ''Here I am, Netherlands'' and Ashok says ''We are homeless!''

The flooring/painting job in the apartment we had rented was not even close to completion and we were told it would take atleast 3 more days. And our stuff from Munich was already on its way in a truck and would arrive the following day. Well, we did consider staying at the train station with a laptop table and microwave with a true Tom Hanks spirit but there was this little thing called ''going to work''. After we made it clear that we will not impose on friends or pay for own hotel for their lack of planning, we were given a temporary place to stay.

We made our peace with it, survived on bread/cereal/salads/take-out and went shopping for clothes (we only had spare clothes for a day). But there was a silver lining, atleast for me - since I wasn't due to join work for a while, I got a chance to explore the beautiful town, Den Bosch(that's another post though). On the third day, we were finally ready to leave and the phone rang again and by then, I was slowly beginning to hate the ring tone. I had good reason to do so - they would need one more week to complete the job !

Ashok and I took one look at each other and said we needed another apt. We were not prepared to reschedule/replan anymore. Already our goods from Munich were stored in a warehouse and I was sure my balcony plants were already dead without sunlight and water. We were told that there were no more apartments available in Den Bosch but there was one in Eindhoven that suited our requirements. We took one look at the apt, fell in love with it, nodded and moved in right on time for Ashok's b'day. That gave us an excuse to replace the traditional pal-kachufying with apple pie :D !

I would love to say all's well that ends well but there is more to come....

The apt was in a perfect location, had a great balcony and some tasteful pieces of furniture but there were no wardrobes and no sign that it ever had one. So where did the previous occupant keep all his stuff ? The apt has an intercom with a camera that allows one to see who is ringing the bell before buzzing them in. The day after we moved in, I was sitting in the balcony trying to speak Dutch without spitting (its really hard, by the way) when someone rang the bell. I looked at the intercom and its a cop !

I warily opened the door and asked him for his id first. He said he was looking for our landlord and while my heart was racing thinking of numerous law and order episodes that I wish I hadn't seen, I tried to outwardly remain calm and explained to him that we rented this apt and he doesn't live here any more. He asked me for his existing contact info and I got into defensive mode (living in Germany for 8 yrs makes all ''privacy invasion'' alarm bells go on when you are asked for someone else's contact info). Then he explained to me that our landlord was a victim in a crime and the police wanted some more information from him...phew, now why didn't he explain this right away and what-oh-what was the crime ?! Since he didn't give me any more answers and I couldn't deal with my imagination, I decided to worry about this when I have to (read, re-check our insurance policies).

The movers brought all our stuff the next day. After realizing that it was faster for me to arrange my own clothes than to explain to someone else how it should be arranged, I asked the movers to just assemble the furniture and leave. The first box I wanted to unpack was my electronics - I had shipped everything except my precious back-up external hard drive. I figured that if they lost my laptop, I atleast had a back-up and the latter was lighter to lug around. It turned out this was genius since my laptop really was missing ! It wasn't inside the box with other electronic items. The movers and I searched all the boxes and it was still missing. All they could do was give me a form to claim the insured value. But what was I to do at home without my laptop ?

After spending a couple of days going around the town (how long can you really shop?) and trying at-home Dutch lessons, I decided to do what I rarely did - scrub and clean everything (I had to do something to while away the time). I opened the box with cleaning supplies and something stood out under the dishwasher tablets and glass cleaner, so I dug in further and my hands felt the familiar edges of my beloved laptop...yippee !! Now who in the world packs a laptop with cleaning supplies ?!? I agree I hadn't cleaned the keyboard and screen in a while but that still wasn't an excuse.

Our relocation experience was like watching the movie race; there was a climax at every step ! We expected something, then it took a pretty hard left turn, then we replanned and took another U-turn...and...and....we ended up in a different town and apartment....and we love the place....it took us a while to turn the house into a home but now it is...we are home, sweet home :) !

PS: My plants made it too :D !
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